How To Organize Refreshments For A School Function

If you are asked to organize refreshments for an upcoming school event, the following guidelines may be of interest and assistance.

In most school systems, parents take an active role in organizing special events. These duties may include coordinating refreshment donations from parents. If you are asked to coordinate volunteer contributions for the next special school activity, here are a few guidelines that may make it easier than you expect.

1. Collect names of parents to contact. The teacher or school secretary may have a list of parents' names for your child's classroom, or whichever group of parents you are supposed to get in touch with. Ask if there are new families that should be added to the list, or other names that need to be removed. The secretary may not have had time to make changes to the list previously.

2. As you call each name on the list, update the person's contact information. If it's not already there, you may want to add an email address for future programs. You also may want to ask if the mailing address is correct for future mailings.

3. Choose a convenient calling time, such as after dinner or early evening. Saturday mornings between ten and noon work well for many people. Check off each name that you call, noting whether the person responded "yes" or "no," or whether there was no answer or you got a busy signal.

4. Have a program theme or suggested list of refreshments ready. Some parents may not know what to bring, so offer suggestions if they ask. As you receive commitments, be sure you don't get all beverages and no desserts, or mostly napkins and no plastic cutlery. Strive for balance to make sure there is enough of everything.

5. Don't forget decorating. A lovely table filled with delicious items and attractive plates will make a good impression on guests and help everyone enjoy the refreshments even more. Visual appeal, or what food critics call "presentation," plays an important part in food service. Tap parents who enjoy crafts of this type, as they will probably be interested in table decorations.

6. Be gracious. If someone is unable to help, politely say thanks. When parents do offer to bring something, be sure to thank them for their time and contribution, saying the kids will enjoy and appreciate it.

7. Set a time and place for donations. Parents may want to know when items should be brought in, and where to take them. Have that information ready after checking with the secretary or teacher. Some instructors may not want goodies setting out to distract the kids. There may be a faculty lounge or kitchen area where donations can be kept until party time.

8. Acknowledge donors. Mention contributors by name if possible. Read a list at the podium before or after the program, or print your list in the program. People who feel appreciated are likely to do it again.

Getting people to bring refreshments to a school function isn't difficult when you have a handy list and a coordinated message. The task will probably require no more than an hour or two of your time, and you will reap a measure of pleasure for helping to make the event a success.

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